An Actor Might be the Republican’s Best Bet

Fred Thompson is looking more and more like a candidate. Yesterday he had an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal which will make conservative Republicans very happy as he repeated their mantra that tax cuts always result in more growth and increased tax revenues. Sometimes this is true, but you’ll never get a Republican to admit this is not always the case. By their logic a tax rate of zero would bring in the most money of all.

There must be a limit where the benefits of lowering taxes does not mean more tax revenue as the rate is too low to bring in sufficient funds to support necessary funding. Republicans see themselves as being a John Galt (from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged) and think they can create wealth in the business sector as a result of their own will and hard work, with no need for the infrastructure which makes our economy possible. Lack of adequate money for government is not a problem which these Republicans can conceive of.

While Thompson cites the tax cuts under Calvin Coolidge as evidence for his position, The Mahablog presents arguments to the contrary, blaming his cuts for subsequent economic stagnation and ultimately the depression. Ezra Klein presents some tough questions for those tho see cutting taxes as the ultimate panacea, wondering where expenses will actually be cut. Presumably this will lead to greater deficits, as we’ve already seen from previous Republicans.

Steve Benen asks, “Does the GOP really need another standard bearer who doesn’t like to work hard, doesn’t care for details, and has zero foreign policy experience? (In other words, given Bush’s humiliating presidency, shouldn’t the party be looking for someone who has an entirely different set of qualities?)”

Thompson actually does have the qualities that Republicans want, and the economic arguments don’t matter. He’s played a President on television, perhaps making him even more qualified than Ronald Reagan. That means he can deliver the message the Republicans want with a straight face and perhaps even convince others that he is right. It does no good to present economic arguments that Republican policies don’t work, and ultimately risk even making the wealthy become less rich as the economy sours.

The Republican mind set is simple. They want to pay less taxes. Period. That’s all they have, and all they really believe in. They work backwards from that point to present economic theories to justify cutting taxes, and no amount of evidence will make a difference. If the religious right can help deliver votes, they will throw them some bones, and don’t worry about the consequences as long as they will pay less in taxes. If neoconservatives will back them they don’t care which country they invade (on credit, of course) as long as they can pay less in taxes. If the Constitution and Bill of Rights get shredded under Republicans from Nixon to Bush they don’t care as long as they can pay less in taxes.

The appeal of paying less taxes is strong for everyone, not only the wealthy. Sometimes we get a wake up call that this does not always work, and that sometimes government spending is necessary. While many factors led to the repudiation of George Bush, the impact of Katrina can not be under-estimated in showing voters what could happen when taxes are cut too much and there isn’t money to spend for emergencies. The health care crisis presents another area where an increasing number of people see the needs for government action. Voodo Economics is getting harder and harder to sell, which is why an actor who can convincingly present Republican views be what the Republicans need if they are not willing to reconsider their policies.

Breakfast with Freema Agyeman


If Saturday night’s entertainment came from Billie Piper, it only makes sense to have breakfast wtih Freema Agyeman, who replaced Rose Tyler as The Doctor’s new companion, Martha Jones. The video from BBC Breakfast includes clips from the third season premier episode of Doctor Who. Here’s some more clips, including The Kiss: